Cutting the Ties that Bind

opinion 1 I am a full-time nanny for two toddlers, and I've been with this family for nearly two years - since before the younger child was born! We get along extremely well and I also babysit for other members of their family in my off hours. I make slightly above-average wage for my area, have pretty much dependable hours and flexible schedule, no chores or job creep, and get good bonuses on both the holidays and my birthday. This summer, I decided to go back to school, and the family supported me and altered their work schedules to facilitate my being able to attend night classes.

In January, I want to move in with a friend in a cheaper apartment, quit my job, and work part-time on campus, but I've never been at a job this long before, so just giving my two weeks seems rude. I'd like if possible to be available to help with interviewing and training the new nanny for at least a few days, but I can't afford to risk them deciding to replace me early or not giving me a holiday bonus because they know I'm leaving.

How much notice should I give? And is it polite to offer to help transition your replacement in, or is that more trouble than it's worth?


Nanny who loves what she does said...

A month seems fair... Good Luck with the new position!!

Nanny2.5 said...

I left my live-in nanny job of two years to go to graduate school and also move in to my own apartment. When I decided to do it, I told the family right off the bat and was completely honest and upfront with everything. I was able to interview new nannies and help with the decision process and training once we found a good fit. I would suggest not waiting and telling them right away. If they respect you, I'm sure they will not fault you for wanting to move on to a new chapter in your life and will still give you a Christmas bonus. I'm sure you been an asset to them and that they care about you. Tell them right away you'd like to help with the training of a new nanny. In my opinion, families love this because it takes less time for them to train someone new. And if you're worried about them finding a replacement early, tell them you'd like to stay on until January! Just be completely honest with your plans and feelings. I was a little apprehensive as well, but once we sat down and I told them everything, they were really receptive and excited for me. Honest really is the best policy. Good luck!

At least a month said...

I think you should tell them at least a month in advance. From the way you have described them, they really seem to appreciate you. I don't know too many parents who would change their job schedules to accommodate the nanny! Of course telling them sooner rather than later runs the risk of them wanting to find someone ASAP so that they don't have to worry. But I feel as though they like you and will want to keep you around for as long as possible.

I recently had to quit my nanny job and I gave them a 2 week notice because I was starting a new job outside of nannying. Yes, it was a little awkward being around them for 2 whole weeks knowing that I would probably never see them again after that but we all did our best to make it seem normal, especially for the kids. I also trained the new nanny for a day and it was fine. I think the parents appreciated it because they didn't have to take time off of work to do it. I also think it is beneficially for the new nanny to be trained directly by you, rather than the parents.

Overall, there is always the risk of them cutting their ties with you early but if you respect them by giving as much notice as possible, they should also respect you by not hiring someone before you want to be done.

Truth Seeker said...

OP, the family you are working for sounds really great so I am hoping they will treat you fairly when you give notice. I would give them notice as soon as you can. Even though the 2-week is standard, I would try to give them more if possible. Otherwise, they will feel deceived that you knew of your plans earlier and never let on. Regarding your bonus, is a risk you need to take. They may or may not offer it to you, depending on how they receive the news that you are leaving. From what you wrote, I do not see why they would be angry at you for leaving. Sometimes in life, we are given many different options and it seems it is time for you to explore others for you. You have been with them for two years which is pretty good. I am sure they will appreciate all you have done for them and will wish you well.

As for training the new Nanny, you might want to offer this to them. If they take you up on it, then I think it sounds like an excellent idea. If they consent to involve you in the hiring process, that would be even better since you know what type of Nanny will work well with the two children.

Good luck and please keep us posted on how things turned out.
We will be keeping our finger's crossed for you OP! ☺

kidcavalry said...

Termination of a relationship can be difficult for everyone, especially since individuals have past experiences with endings that may or may not have been therapeutic to the relationship. My motto is to always try to make your goodbyes at least as sweet as your hellos and only you can know what this requires from you. Having once been a nanny myself (in the Boston area) for 10 years, I would ask you to consider the hiring routine typically practiced by the employers in your area. Were you hired and placed within 2 weeks? If you were then I'll say you got lucky with your situation.

Now, as a registered nurse, I would ask you to consider the most vulnerable population in every one of these family/nanny equations--the kids. I'm of the opinion that it takes at least a month for a family to transition from old to new. How do we all prepare the children? How do we check out the new nannny and how does the new nanny check out the family? A united front teaching children about transitions of goodbyes and hellos can be wonderfully bittersweet. The future appears promising to all involved yet memories of past time together will be held dear to both big and little hearts.

It's a little scary for you, yes, because now is going to be one of the times that you find out how much your family values your involvement in their life. Remember, though, that this is a time in their life werein you will be letting them know how valuable they have been to you. My ultimate advice is to give them at least a month's notice. Any less than that implies that you jump ship at the moment that looks best for you without concern for anyone else.

In addition, you need to choose an appropriate time to discuss the ending without the children present. The parents will need moments to absorb the need for transition and will want to decide how best to present it to the kids.

A question I have is whether or not termination notice was ever discussed in your contract--please tell me you have one, even if it was individually written. If you have that written anywhere, then the answer is pretty cut and dry. If you don't have a contract, then now is a learning experience. Upfront, professional conversation about endings greatly facilitates the emotional aspect of those goodbyes later on.

One last thing. Are you able to be available for them at all in the future? I've had families for whom I've occasionally worked again during vacations, nanny walk-outs, weekend get-aways,and at times of crisis. The money paid for these times is usually pretty awesome in terms of part-time waging. Several families have not only offered major compensation, but have paid for my plane fare from other regions so that I could be their temporary fit. See if you can leave that door open. Good luck.

Wait a second said...

I disagree with "anonymous". OP did mention her concern about the money and I don't see that as greedy at all. After all, all of us nannies love the kids and such but what we are doing is a JOB and we need to make a living too. The money certainly has to be taken into consideration. As far as the holiday bonus goes, I can see how OP is worried about not getting it because she is going to be making some major life changes and probably would feel more comfortable with a little more money behind her. I am not saying that the money is everything but it certainly deserves consideration.

I think the OP sounds like a great nanny and the parents seem to like her since they changed around their schedules to accommodate her schooling. How many parents do you know who will do that?! It is always difficult to move on but life is short and there are so many opportunities out there! Go for it OP!

Phoenix said...

First off I think you sounded very well intended and that you actually cared about the family. Then it happened. At the end of the post "I can't afford to risk them deciding to replace me early or not giving me a holiday bonus because they know I'm leaving."

Really? You are worried they won't give you a bonus? Such a sweet thing you are. No advice to give you. You are just as greedy as the next person

OP said...

I'm going to be up-front about this because I always have been: I work as a nanny because I make better money doing that than anything else. I like kids, and I love the family I work with because they've been great to me all this time, but yes, my main concern is money. Yes, I want my bonus. I work hard, and I deserve to have that acknowledged, especially now that I'm a full-time student as well as a nanny and have given up on having much free time at all.

I'm not working as a nanny for free. I wouldn't ever work with kids, especially young kids, for anything less than $10/hr. I am very attached to this family, but I didn't take the job because I love them, I took the job because I make twice the minimum wage. And now I'm leaving because I want to build skills that don't involve mixing bottles and cleaning poop before I move on to a career where I'll make even more money without getting pooped on.

Being a nanny is the perfect career for some people, but not me. I'm sorry I have different ambitions. I never said it wasn't about money.

To everyone else - thank you for the advice. Once I know for sure that I'll be able to swing moving to a new place in January, I'll let my bosses know my plans right away so we can discuss how involved they want me to be in the hiring and training process.

MissMannah said...

Of course you want to make money, that's the whole point of having a job. But you said you don't want to potentially miss out on your bonus. That's what makes you come off as greedy. A bonus is exactly what it sounds like--bonus. An addition to what you earn. You are not entitled to it and you should not automatically expect it, even if it is Christmas, and it is the "nice" thing to do. I hate hearing nannies pitch a fit because they didn't get a bonus, or even worse if their bonus wasn't good enough for them.

However, I completely agree with you saying you can't afford for them to replace you early, which is a very real possibility. But you know these people better than anyone so you should be able to judge their characters well enough to know if they're vindictive enough to do that. I think you're making a wise decision in telling them your plans because it mean you'll be leaving on friendly terms.

Phoenix said...

So OP you expect the family that you are leaving to give you a holiday bonus. What about the new nanny? Since you want your bonus wouldn't that mean possibly taking a bonus option away from your replacement. As you say. She is going to be working hard and deserves. More than you do actually because you are quitting.

You are selfish and greedy. It isn't about your income. We all work for money. This is about the bonus. Greedy little girl you are.

Marypoppin'pills said...

I hope everyone is looking forward to checking out ISYN's most popular Feature of all time: The Holiday Christmas Bonus! ;-)

MissMannah said...

I know I am looking forward to it! I always read it in complete amazement at what some nannies manage to pull in at Christmastime. I always think I need to move to a big city after the first of the year.

Won't be getting one this year because my oh-so-lovely DB just informed me that I'm being replaced in a couple of weeks. Apparently he didn't consult MB before making this decision either because the shit hit the fan the next day. Lord, what drama we get to witness!

Susie said...

I agree with the other posters that a month is probably best. You should really try and stay on good terms with them -- never know when you'll need a good reference! Also, be sure to follow the terms of your employment contract.